The Very Best Reason

by Sara Cavazos

Carey Anderson lay on the bed, starting out into the dark. She turned to face her husband, who snored next to her. Her mind began to wander, as it often did late at night. Tomorrow she needed to get the wash done, and run to the grocery store, if she could find the time. Just as she started to drift off to sleep, she was snapped awake by the sound of heavy footsteps. She tried not to make a sound. Carey froze as the bedroom door slowly opened. Thoughts raced through her head. Oh, God, her family! Were they about to be killed? There were so many things she'd wanted to do with them but would never get to. She held her breath, willing herself not to move. She tightly squeezed her eyes shut. The scary movie she's watched the night before had her expecting the worse.

Suddenly a voice came from within the shadows.

"Mama! Wake up!"

Carey sighed, a feeling of relief washing over her.

She should have never watched that scary movie just before she went to bed. She relaxed her grip on the sheets. It was just her three year old and not some crazed axe murderer. She glanced at the clock on the nightstand. Three o' clock in the morning? What had her little booger gotten into this time?

She turned on the lamp that sat on the nightstand closest to the door, and sat up in bed.

Three years old, and just over three foot tall, Angie stood next to the bed. Her frilly white nightgown reached just below her knees. She had big, chunky, hot pink dress up shoes on her tiny bare feet.

"Mama!" Angie said tapping her chubby little foot. "Come on!"

"Okay, okay!" Carey said, while throwing the covers off and grabbing her robe at the foot of the bed. "You better have a good reason for waking me up this early, young lady!"

Angie turned the corner to the kitchen and came to a dead stop.

A bright light glowed from somewhere in the kitchen. The refrigerator door stood wide open.

Carey's gaze wandered round the room and she saw all the crisper drawers in the refrigerator were open. Empty packages of ham, and sliced cheese, and pale white bread littered the kitchen's tiled floor. A left open jar of mayonnaise, with a spoon sticking out, sat in the middle of the mess. The silverware drawer gaped open and the forks and spoons were tossed about on the black and white, tiled counter.Two plastic cups sat on the counter, in the middle of a puddle of apple juice that was dripping down the cupboard door and onto the floor. As Carey opened her mouth to scold her newly adopted daughter for the first time, but she spied a tray in the middle of all the mess. On the tray, at the edge of the disaster, sat a plate with two sandwiches, and two forks, and a haphazardly folded napkin sat beside the plate.

Angie walked over to the tray.

"Are you hungry, mama?" Angie asked.

Carey looked at the small child. She was smiling so proudly, her small finger pointing.

"See, mommy?: One for you, one for me" she said, waiting for her new mom's approval.

Tears glistening in her eyes. Trying to smile, Carey bent down and hugged her precious, new daughter. Overwhelmed with a new mother's love, she grabbed her up, and swung her around and around. Her robe billowed out around them.

She set the little girl down. With a hug and a kiss, she placed the tiny child back on the floor. She then picked up the tray, and the drinks, and sat down at the kitchen table.

Angie ran up to her, jumping into her arms, and snuggling down into a tight hug. There they sat at three in the morning, eating ham and cheese sandwiches, that were just a little heavy on the mayonnaise.

This child's love is the very best reason to be startled awake at three o'clock in the morning.

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